15 Best Things To Do In Scotland

15 Best Things To Do In Scotland

By will

Scotland is a magical place full of history, culture, and adventure.
From the ancient, winding streets of Edinburgh to the rolling hills of the Highlands, there are countless exciting things to do in Scotland.
From the iconic Edinburgh Castle to the picturesque Isle of Skye, there are plenty of stunning places to explore.
In this article, I’ll share 15 amazing experiences that you won’t want to miss on your trip to Scotland.
From sightseeing to outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone.
So, let’s start exploring!

Visit Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle - southeastern aspect
Photo by Rob Farrow

Edinburgh Castle is the must-see attraction on any trip to Scotland – it’s a stunning testament to the country’s long and vibrant history!

Perched atop a rocky crag overlooking Edinburgh, it has stood guard over Scotland’s capital for centuries, and its impressive walls and towers have borne witness to countless battles, sieges, and royal coronations.

I was so taken by the castle’s grandeur, and its incredible views over the city. It’s definitely a must-visit if you’re looking to experience Scotland’s medieval past.

Inside, you’ll find a wealth of history, from the royal apartments and Scottish regalia to the stone of destiny and the crown jewels.

There’s also a museum, chapel, and great hall, providing visitors with a unique insight into Scotland’s past.

I highly recommend taking a guided tour of the castle, which is well worth the price.

So if you’re looking to experience the best of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle is the place to start.

Explore the Isle of Skye

Coast near Glen Ollisdal, Isle of Skye
Photo by Andrew Tryon

Discover the majestic beauty of the Isle of Skye, an enchanting island off the coast of Scotland, and experience its captivating landscape for yourself.

From its rugged coastal cliffs to its rolling hills, the Isle of Skye is sure to take your breath away.

With its abundance of wildlife, the island is a wonderful place to explore and take in the stunning scenery.

As you make your way around the island, you can visit a variety of picturesque villages, admire the views from the Quiraing mountain path, and explore the Neist Point lighthouse.

The Isle of Skye is also home to an array of ancient castles and ruins.

While on the island, be sure to explore the Dunvegan Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland, and the Talisker distillery, the oldest working distillery in the country.

From the faerie pools to the Old Man of Storr, the Isle of Skye has something for everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a family adventure, the Isle of Skye is the perfect place in Scotland to explore and create lasting memories.

Tour St Andrews

St Andrews Cathedral
Photo by Chris Allen

Experience the historic charm of St Andrews, Scotland’s oldest university town, and explore its breathtaking coastline.

St Andrews is located on Scotland’s east coast and is a must-see destination for those looking to explore the country’s history and culture.

From the University of St Andrews, the oldest university in Scotland, to the town’s stunning beaches and cliffs, there is something for everyone.

Visit the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral, founded in 1160, or take a stroll along the town’s cobblestone streets and explore its many restaurants, cafes, and shops.

You can also take in the stunning views of the North Sea from the town’s sea cliffs or enjoy a game of golf on one of its world-famous courses.

Whatever you choose, St Andrews is sure to provide a memorable Scottish experience.

Visit Glasgow

Explore Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, and immerse yourself in its vibrant atmosphere.

Glasgow is the perfect destination for a city break, with a stunning blend of architecture, culture, and entertainment to enjoy.

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From the iconic Glasgow Cathedral to the bustling George Square, explore the historic sights of the city and take in the beautiful Victorian architecture.

Spend the afternoon exploring the bustling bars and restaurants of the city, or take a stroll along the banks of the River Clyde.

There’s plenty of shopping opportunities too, with the bustling Buchanan Street, the chic Princes Square, and the luxury malls of the St Enoch Centre.

Glasgow is also home to some of the best museums and galleries in the country, such as the Gallery of Modern Art and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Whether you’re a lover of culture or an admirer of art, there’s something for everyone.

As the night draws in, the city comes alive with its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and clubs to suit all tastes.

Whatever you choose to do in Glasgow, it’s sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Climb Ben Nevis

Climb Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK, and feel the thrill of conquering Britain’s highest peak!

Rising to a height of 1,344 meters, it’s a challenging climb that’s well worth the effort.

Standing on its summit, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding Highlands with the iconic peak of Ben Macdui, the second highest in the UK, visible in the distance.

The climb itself is suitable for most levels of fitness, although you should be prepared for some steep ascents and descents.

Make sure you have the right equipment for the weather conditions, and make sure you’ve got a detailed map of the route.

With a little preparation, you can safely reach the summit and experience the unique sense of accomplishment that comes with standing on the top of Britain’s highest mountain.

Take a Loch Ness Cruise

After conquering the highest peak in Scotland, Ben Nevis, it’s time to take a more relaxed journey and explore the depths of Scotland’s largest loch, Loch Ness. My favorite way to do this is to take a cruise on the loch itself.

This is a great opportunity to see the beautiful scenery of the Loch Ness area and to learn more about its mysterious past. The cruise takes you around the entire perimeter of the loch, so you get to see the whole of its majestic beauty. You can spend time on the boat, looking at the castle ruins, the towering mountains, and even spot some of the local wildlife.

You never know what kind of surprise you might find on the Loch Ness Cruise, as the stories of the Loch Ness Monster have been around for centuries. I’m always excited to hear what the tour guide has to say about the myths and legends that surround it. They always have some interesting stories to tell and they’re usually full of fun facts about the loch.

It’s an amazing experience to sail on the loch and to soak up the beauty of the area while learning about its history.

Hike in the Cairngorms

Immerse yourself in Scotland’s natural beauty and embark on a hike through the awe-inspiring Cairngorms.

This mountainous region spans over 4,000 sq km and is the largest and most extensive mountain range in the UK.

There are a variety of trails to choose from, perfect for all levels of hiker.

From the strenuous Ben Macdui and Cairn Gorm summits, to the easy paths of Glenlivet and Glen Feshie, the Cairngorms offer something for everyone.

The breathtaking views from the top of these mountains are some of the best in Scotland, providing the perfect spot for a picnic or just to take in the views.

The hills are alive with wildlife, and you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the rare reindeer, ptarmigan, and golden eagles that call the Cairngorms home.

So, whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just getting started, the Cairngorms are sure to provide a spectacular and unforgettable experience.

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Visit the West Highland Way

Experience Scotland’s stunning scenery and embark on a journey along the West Highland Way – a 95 mile long-distance walking route through the Highlands.

This epic trail will take you through some of Scotland’s most beautiful landscapes, including Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Rannoch Moor, Glencoe, and Ben Nevis. If you’re looking for a challenge, the West Highland Way is the perfect choice.

You’ll have the opportunity to explore the area’s rich history, appreciate stunning views, and discover the unique culture of the Scottish Highlands.

Along the trail, you’ll find plenty of accommodation and food options for weary walkers. You’ll also be able to take in the sights of Scotland’s iconic castles, like Kilchurn Castle and Urquhart Castle.

Take the time to explore the area’s picturesque lochs and glens, and enjoy a picnic at the end of your journey.

The West Highland Way is an unforgettable experience, so don’t miss out on the chance to explore this beautiful part of Scotland.

Visit the National Wallace Monument

Leaving the West Highland Way behind, I now turn my attention to the National Wallace Monument.

Located in Stirling, Scotland, this monument is dedicated to the legendary Scottish hero, William Wallace. This impressive tower stands proudly on a hilltop overlooking the scenic landscape below.

Visitors can take a walk up the spiral staircases of the monument to get a spectacular view of the countryside. Inside, you can find interactive displays and artifacts that tell the story of William Wallace and his fight for freedom.

The monument is a great way to learn about the history of Scotland and to honor the legacy of William Wallace.

Take a Trip to the Orkney Islands

Embark on a journey to the breathtaking Orkney Islands, where you can explore the ancient sites, stunning nature, and rich culture of Scotland.

Here you can discover some of the oldest monuments in the world, including the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Stenness.

You can also take a boat trip to the rocky shore of the island of Hoy, or explore the vast sand dunes of the Bay of Skaill.

Visit nearby farmers markets to sample the freshest seafood, or tour the whiskey distilleries to try some of the finest whisky in the world.

The Orkney Islands also feature plenty of activities for those looking for a bit more adventure.

Take a sailing trip around the islands, go sea kayaking, or take a hike up the highest point in the islands, Ward Hill.

Don’t forget to take a few moments to relax and take in the stunning scenery and seascapes.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or an outdoor enthusiast, the Orkney Islands offer something for everyone.

Explore the Scottish Highlands

After my trip to the Orkney Islands, I was ready for another adventure in Scotland. This time, I decided to explore the Scottish Highlands.

The Highlands are a mountainous region in Scotland with a wide variety of beautiful landscapes and wildlife. From the lush green hills, to the lochs, and the unique wildlife, there’s so much to explore!

One of the best things to do in the Highlands is to take a hike. There are many hiking trails with various levels of difficulty, so you can choose one that best suits your level of experience.

On my hike, I was able to explore the stunning views of the hills and lochs, and take in the incredible beauty of my surroundings. I was also lucky enough to spot some of the region’s wildlife, including red deer, golden eagles, and even the occasional sea eagle!

It was a truly amazing experience that I won’t soon forget.

Visit the Isle of Arran

Experience the beauty of Scotland’s Inner Hebrides and visit the Isle of Arran, where you can explore its picturesque beaches, lush forests, and rugged mountainside. A must-see on your Scotland itinerary, Arran is known as Scotland in miniature, a place where you can easily access a variety of outdoor activities with a choice of beaches and landscapes.

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Whether you’re hiking, cycling, or swimming, Arran has something for everyone. Visit the Isle’s whisky distilleries, explore stunning lochs, and take a tour of Brodick Castle. You can also take a trip to the King’s Cave, the home of Scotland’s legendary Robert the Bruce, or take a boat trip to the Holy Isle for its spiritual history and beautiful views.

There’s also a variety of wildlife to discover, from seals to red deer, and the chance to spot whales and dolphins. Don’t miss the chance to explore the Isle of Arran and discover its beauty for yourself.

Explore Stirling Castle

After visiting the Isle of Arran, I was ready to explore yet another one of Scotland’s historical gems: Stirling Castle.

Located in Stirling, Scotland, this castle is perched atop a huge volcanic rock, making it one of the most impressive and picturesque castles in the entire country. It dates back to the 12th century, and is surrounded by an ancient stone wall that has stood the test of time.

I was eager to explore the castle and all of its many secrets.

The moment I stepped foot inside the castle walls, I was transported back in time. I was instantly taken aback by the intricate and detailed architecture, which was still very much intact despite its age. I was able to take a guided tour of the castle, where I learned about the history of the area and the many famous people who have called it home.

From the Royal Palace to the many galleries, every area of the castle had a story to tell. I was also able to explore the gardens and the surrounding area, which was absolutely stunning.

Despite its age, Stirling Castle is still a must-see destination for anyone who wants to experience true Scottish history.

Visit the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Take in the breathtaking views of the Glenfinnan Viaduct on your visit to Scotland.

This impressive structure is situated in Scotland’s Highlands and is part of the West Highland Railway Line.

The viaduct arches in an impressive curved shape over the River Finnan and is surrounded by stunning landscapes.

It is best known for its appearance in the Harry Potter films, where it is crossed by the Hogwarts Express.

A visit here is a must-do for any Scotland trip.

The viaduct is featured in some of Scotland’s most iconic views and is a great opportunity for photography.

The area also offers a great range of activities, such as wildlife watching, hillwalking, and cycling.

There is a visitor center at the site, where you can learn more about the viaduct and its history.

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or just looking for a unique experience, a visit to the Glenfinnan Viaduct is an unforgettable experience.

Visit the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Located in the heart of Glasgow, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a must-see for any visitor to Scotland. This world-famous museum houses one of the finest collections of art in Europe, with over 8,000 works of art that span centuries of history.

It features works from the Spanish, French, Dutch, and Scottish masters, as well as an impressive collection of international works of art. Furthermore, the museum also has a variety of interactive exhibits, including an audio-visual experience about the history of Glasgow and a hands-on exploration of the world’s cultures.

It’s a great spot to take the kids and have a day out, or for an afternoon of quiet contemplation. Whether you’re a cultural enthusiast or just a curious visitor, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is a must-see in Scotland.


Exploring Scotland is an incredible experience that I’m lucky enough to have had. From the grandeur of Edinburgh Castle to the stunning beauty of the Isle of Skye, Scotland has something for everyone.

Visiting St Andrews, Glasgow, Ben Nevis, the Isle of Arran, Stirling Castle, the Glenfinnan Viaduct, and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum are just some of the amazing things to experience while in Scotland.

Scotland is without a doubt a country unlike any other, and I’m so lucky to have had the chance to explore it. I’ll never forget my time in Scotland, and I can’t wait to go back.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.